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N A T I O N

CPM: UP govt’s fate depends on Assembly 
New Delhi, February 17
Even as the political developments in Uttar Pradesh unfolded on a hectic pace, the CPM Politburo today maintained that the state Assembly was the right forum to test whether Mulayam Singh-led government enjoyed the support of the majority of the House or not.

Amar Singh to seek Kalam’s intervention
New Delhi, February 17
In the face of the mounting pressure from the Congress, the BJP and some other parties for the dismissal of the Mulayam Singh government, the Samajwadi Party said today it would be taking the matter to the President, "as everybody has ganged up against the state government."

Lalu for dismissal of UP govt
Patna, February 17
The heat of Uttar Pradesh politics has reached Bihar, with the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav today supporting any move by the Centre to impose President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh by dismissing the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

Dismiss UP govt, says Sibal
New Delhi, February 17
Stepping up pressure for the imposition of President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh, Union minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal today said the Centre should not shirk its constitutional responsibilities and dismiss the state government.








EARLIER STORIES




An artist makes jute dolls at a handloom and handicraft fair near Science City in Kolkata on Friday
An artist makes jute dolls at a handloom and handicraft fair near Science City in Kolkata on Friday. — PTI

Ghaziabad DSP suspended
Lucknow, February 17
The Uttar Pradesh Government has suspended Ghaziabad DSP and ordered an inquiry against an ASP for their alleged failure in controlling mob which attacked Nithari killings accused Mohinder Singh Pandher and Surender Koli, when they were produced before a court last month. — PTI

Threat to blow up airport, security  beefed up
Chennai, February 17
Security has been beefed up at Chennai airport, after an anonymous call was received at the City Police Control room that the airport and an aircraft would be blown up with bombs. On receiving the call, the control room informed airport officials, who convened an urgent meeting of airport, police and CISF officials to review security arrangements, airport officials said. Efforts were on to trace the caller, the police said, adding that the caller appeared to be a child. — PTI

Singur: Mamata for CBI probe
Kolkata, February 17
Ms Mamata Banerjee demanded today that the CBI should enquire into the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's ‘secret business deal’ with Mr Ratan Tata on the proposed Tata Motors project in Singur. She suspected foul play in the ‘free-of-cost’ transfer of land, worth over Rs 1300 crore, in Singur to Tata Motors. Ms Banerjee declared she would continue the agitation demanding the return of the land to the farmers.

BJP: Disqualify 10 party MLAs
New Delhi, February 17
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today called for the disqualification of its 10 MLAs in Uttar Pradesh to pre-empt any cross-voting during the trust vote sought by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in the Assembly on February 26.

Parveen Babi’s kin claims  her assets
Mumbai, February 17
Two years after the lonely death of Parveen Babi, one of her relatives has claimed her assets, saying the actress had named him as a benificiary in her will. Muradkhan Babi has moved the Bombay High Court, claiming that Parveen Babi had made a will in which she named him a as beneficiary and asked him to form a trust of which he would be a trustee.

SC against bitter legal finish to matrimonial disputes
New Delhi, February 17
To protect the interests of children, no bitter legal finish should be given by courts to matrimonial disputes, the Supreme Court said, defining the basic philosophy behind the special provision made in the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1976, to decide such cases under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Army to protect civilians caught in crossfire: J.J. Singh
Thiruvananthapuram, February 17 
The Army today faces the challenge of dissuading “misguided youths” in trouble-torn Kashmir and the Northeast from taking the route of violence, Army Chief General J J Singh said today.

No plans to contest presidential poll, says Bachchan

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CPM: UP govt’s fate depends on Assembly 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
Even as the political developments in Uttar Pradesh unfolded on a hectic pace, the CPM Politburo today maintained that the state Assembly was the right forum to test whether Mulayam Singh-led government enjoyed the support of the majority of the House or not.

This tacit support to the Samajwadi Party leader by the CPM, which also props up the Manmohan Singh government at the Centre, appears to be acting as a stumbling block for the Congress-led coalition to impose President’s rule in the state.

“Whether the government enjoys majority or not should be determined on the floor of the house. This has been our principled stand for the last 40 years,” CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.

As the CPM Politburo began a two-day meeting, Mr Yechury steered clear of the question on what would be his party’s future course of action if the Centre decided to impose President’s rule in the state, saying: “Our stand is based on the current situation.”

“We have nothing to do with who is saying what. The same Congress had earlier supported the Mulayam Singh Yadav government. At that time also it was clear that people had defected. The question is not which argument is correct. The question is whether the government enjoys majority or not,” Mr Yechury said.

Asked whether the Mulayam led government had not lost its legality in the light of the Supreme Court disqualifying 13 BSP MLAs who had switched sides to support the Samajwadi Party-led coalition government, he said, “It’s not about legality. The government’s majority should be decided on the floor of the House.”

On the issue of price rise, he said, “The analysis of price rise done by the government itself is faulty.”

He said the government should immediately stop forward and future trading in essential commodities. “Otherwise we will be forced to go to the people to mobilise their support”.

On the cut in petrol and diesel rates, he said, “Finally, the government has done that. These sort of delays are posing unnecessary burden on the people.”

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Amar Singh to seek Kalam’s intervention

New Delhi, February 17
In the face of the mounting pressure from the Congress, the BJP and some other parties for the dismissal of the Mulayam Singh government, the Samajwadi Party said today it would be taking the matter to the President, "as everybody has ganged up against the state government."

"It should be clear to all that the Supreme Court judgement on the BSP MLAs has not questioned the legitimacy of his government, so no one has to the right to declare it illegal,: SP general secretary Amar Singh told a hurriedly called news conference here tonight.

"The apex court has disqualified only the 13 MLAs, and has not said anything about the remaining 24, whose fate will be decided either by the Speaker or the Court, but not by the Congress and its friends," he said.

Making a scathing attack on the Governor T.V. Rajeswar, Mr Amar Singh accused him of misusing his constitutional post and said he was acting on the advice of Congress and BSP spokespersons instead of seeking the advice of constitutional experts.

The SP general secretary said everybody had ganged up against the Mulayam Singh government, and party leaders would soon be meeting President Kalam to apprise him of the situation.

He said "the Congress and its new found friends like Mr V.P. Singh were asking for the murder of the Mulayam Singh government without even a semblance of trial, thus acting worse than the US, which hanged Saddam Hussain at least after a trial, however unfair that might be."

He claimed that his government still enjoyed the support of 247 MLAs when the government was formed, and so even if the whole 37 BSP MLAs were taken out, the government still had 210 members with it.

"If the government has any doubt about these number, he should consult the Raj Bhavan secretariat records and find that at the time of formation of the government, the SP enjoyed the support of 247,'' said Mr Amar Singh.

The SP leader also attacked Mr V.P. Singh for accusing his party of having a nexus with the BJP, saying that Mr V.P. Singh had enjoyed prime ministership only with the BJP support and his government at the Centre fell the moment the party withdrew its support.

"It was not becoming for such a person that the SP was acting in tandem with the BJP. It was the SP in the state, which dislodged the BJP from power in the state," he said.

He said the Congress leaders should not teach lessons of morality to the SP "as they should not forget how the Narsimha Rao's minority government had survived." — UNI 

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Lalu for dismissal of UP govt
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, February 17
The heat of Uttar Pradesh politics has reached Bihar, with the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav today supporting any move by the Centre to impose President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh by dismissing the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav wanted Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav to resign on his own in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict disqualifying 13 BSP MLAs who had helped him to form the government in 2003.

“Mulayam has lost the moral right to rule Uttar Pradesh after the court verdict”, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav asserted.

Continuing his tirade against his one-time socialist friend, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav claimed that if Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav did not resign on his own, the government should be dismissed by imposing President’s rule there. Terming Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav a dictator, the RJD boss charged him with destroying all democratic institutions.

Mr.Lalu Prasad Yadav also differed with the views expressed by the CPI(M), which favoured a trial of strength on the floor of the House by the government.

“There is no question of allowing Mulayam to prove his majority on the floor of the House after the court verdict, maintained Mr.Lalu Prasad Yadav.

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Dismiss UP govt, says Sibal

New Delhi, February 17
Stepping up pressure for the imposition of President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh, Union minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal today said the Centre should not shirk its constitutional responsibilities and dismiss the state government.

“I believe that the government must understand its constitutional duties and should not shirk its constitutional responsibilities,” he told reporters when asked what the Centre was going to do after the Supreme Court’s order disqualifying BSP MLAs.

Replying to a volley of questions, Mr Sibal said what the Centre would do would be known within the next two or three days, but this government was unconstitutional and should resign on moral grounds.

He also suggested that political parties, for the sake of democracy, must come out openly in this regard and ask the Mulayam Singh Yadav government to step down.

Asked about the stand of the CPI(M) opposing the imposition of President’s rule in the state, Mr Sibal said consultation was on with all allies of the coalition government on the issue.

He contended that by disqualifying the 13 MLAs, the Supreme Court had in effect, held that all 37 MLAs who had switched over to the Samajwadi Party were disqualified. —PTI 

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Singur: Mamata for CBI probe
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, February 17
Ms Mamata Banerjee demanded today that the CBI should enquire into the Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's ‘secret business deal’ with Mr Ratan Tata on the proposed Tata Motors project in Singur. She suspected foul play in the ‘free-of-cost’ transfer of land, worth over Rs 1300 crore, in Singur to Tata Motors. Ms Banerjee declared she would continue the agitation demanding the return of the land to the farmers.

At the same time, she would also go to the Supreme Court seeking protection of the poor farmers against the onslaught of the CPM.

The Trinamool Congress leader was addressing a meeting in Singur today soon after the Calcutta High Court's declaration of the imposition of the order under Section 144 CrPC in Singur on Friday as "illegal and unwanted".

Incidentally, Ms Banerjee had wanted to go to Singur twice and hold public meetings there in support of the poor farmers but she had been debarred from doing so.

Social activist Medha Patkar and the Magsaysay award-winning writer,Mahasetwa Devi, and several other intellectuals and political leaders also tried to visit Singur but they could not following the resistance from the police and the CPM cadres.
However, there was no resistance today and Ms Banerjee and others reached Singur and held a public meeting near Tata Motors plot site in Singur. But the gathering there was not huge as expected.

The meeting was organised by the Krishi Bachao Committee and all other political parties supporting farmers and land owners.
Addressing the meeting in Kamarkundu, Ms Banerjee thanked the high court for declaring the Singur prohibitory orders as "illegal" and protecting the people's fundamental rights of free movement and freedom of speech.

Ms Banerjee called upon the farmers and other villagers to get united and intensify the stir demanding return of their farmland occupied forcibly by the state government in Singur for Tata Motors.

She alleged that the Chief Minister had been acting like a big zaminder and transferring the poor farmers’ lands to the industrialists.

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BJP: Disqualify 10 party MLAs
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today called for the disqualification of its 10 MLAs in Uttar Pradesh to pre-empt any cross-voting during the trust vote sought by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in the Assembly on February 26.

Calling the state government as unconstitutional, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi termed the Congress demand for President’s rule in the state as ridiculous, saying it was equally responsible for the present political situation in the state.

Attacking the Congress for its ambivalent attitude towards the state, Mr Naqvi observed, “The Congress hand has a significant role in filling the house of misdeeds erected by the Samajwadi Party government”.

“The issue in Uttar Pradesh is not merely one of enjoying or losing confidence, but that despite the existence of a government, the constitutional system has been shaken to its roots”, he said.

He said, “The shameful drama of seeking confidence regularly played by the Mulayam government has led to a loss of faith of the people of Uttar Pradesh and confirmed the government’s unconstitutional, immoral and fraudulent nature”.

Mr Naqvi said the Mulayam Singh Yadav government could not convert the distrust of the people into any element of confidence in the Assembly.

“The attitude and behaviour of the Samajwadi Party has only increased the anger and loathing of the people towards it”, he claimed.

Mr Naqvi said, “Law and order has been taken over by ‘goondas’ and the mafia, corruption has flourished under the patronage of the state and anti-social elements have set up a parallel administration in over half of the districts”.

“In such trying circumstances, attempting to prop up the government by cobbling together agents of defection will only stoke the flames of distrust”, he pointed out.

Asked why the BJP did not take action against its MLAs earlier, Mr Naqvi said, “Of the 10 we have decided to have disqualified, the names of Mahendra Singh Yadav, Sham Singh Aheriya and Amarjeet Singh were sent as early as September 13 last, but unfortunately, no decision had been taken by the Speaker”.

“The Supreme Court decision on disqualification has cleared the way and now, there should be no legal roadblock to disqualify them”, he said.

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Parveen Babi’s kin claims her assets

Mumbai, February 17
Two years after the lonely death of Parveen Babi, one of her relatives has claimed her assets, saying the actress had named him as a benificiary in her will.
Muradkhan Babi has moved the Bombay High Court, claiming that Parveen Babi had made a will in which she named him a as beneficiary and asked him to form a trust of which he would be a trustee.

Babi, who was one of Bollywood’s biggest female stars in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was found dead in her flat at Juhu here on January 22, 2005.

Muradkhan said he could not come forward to claim the property on the day Babi died as his wife passed away on the same day.

His counsel told the court that Babi’s property, currently in the custody of the State Administrator General (SAG), was not being taken care of.

The maintenance of her Rs 1.5-crore flat was not paid even though a fixed deposit and a bank account amounting to Rs 20 lakh was in the SAG’s custody, he alleged.

Muradkhan has urged the court to appoint a receiver to manage the assets during the pendency of the case.

Justice .K. Deshmukh has adjourned the hearing to February 23.

The SAG took over the management of Babi’s assets in February 2005 after Juhu police station informed it that no relatives had come forward to claim the property. The police also said it had not found any will made by the actress.

To take the property into its custody, the SAG approached the High Court as the assets were worth more than Rs 10 lakh. It later sought the court’s permission to lease the flat on rent but nothing was done about this.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who was closely associated with late Babi, told PTI, “I have not heard of any relative named Muradkhan during my friendship with her. As far as my knowledge goes, she died without a will.” — PTI

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SC against bitter legal finish to matrimonial disputes
S S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 17
To protect the interests of children, no bitter legal finish should be given by courts to matrimonial disputes, the Supreme Court said, defining the basic philosophy behind the special provision made in the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1976, to decide such cases under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Adjudicating upon issuing of arrest warrants to the NRI husband of a Punjab doctor for not appearing in court in a divorce case, the Supreme Court said the approach of civil courts in matrimonial matters should be much more constructive, affirmative and productive rather than abstractive, theoretical or doctrinaire.

Citing a series of rulings given by it on adopting a humane approach in such cases in the interests of children, which could have an adverse affect on tender minds for the whole of their lives due to fight between parents, a Bench comprising Mr Justice C.K. Thakker and Mr Justice Lokeshwer Singh Panta said such cases should not be driven to a bitter legal finish.

The apex court said trial judges should keep in mind that the basic spirit behind the Hindu Marriage Act, specially the provisions relating to marriage, was of restitution of conjugal rights of disputing couples.

Even if relations had come to the brink of no return, the at first instance, the efforts of judicial officers should be to make endeavour to bring about the reconciliation between them, it noted.

The guidelines were laid down by the court in the case of a doctor from Barnala, Punjab, who had married a Darusslame-based NRI in 1993.

At that time, she did not possess a medical degree. Their relations went sour within an year.

She had returned to her parental home in January, 1994, accusing her husband of ill-treating her.

A son born to them in April, 1994, could not survive during their strained relationship and died in September, 1995.

She had later got admission to a medical college in Russia and got her MBBS degree from there.

She had filed a divorce suit against her husband in 2002, which ran into various legal wrangles, including the jurisdictional dispute between the district judges of Sangrur and Faridkot and the personal appearance of the husband.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on the question of personal appearance before the trial judge, whose order he had allegedly flouted repeatedly, issued non-bailable arrest warrants against him in May, 2006, to be executed through the Ministry of External Affairs.

Aggrieved by the order, his counsel had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court for the quashing of the warrants, but it dismissed his plea, saying there was no infirmity in the impugned order, specially when his counsel was not ready to ensure his client’s presence in the trial court under apex court protection against arrest.

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Army to protect civilians caught in crossfire: J.J. Singh

Thiruvananthapuram, February 17 
The Army today faces the challenge of dissuading “misguided youths” in trouble-torn Kashmir and the Northeast from taking the route of violence, Army Chief General J J Singh said today. “Whatever we are doing in Kashmir and the North East is a challenge. The Army will be following the strategy of ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ to dissuade misguided youth in these regions,” General Singh said, addressing students of the Sainik School at Kazhakootam near here.

He said India had a battle-hardened, well-trained and professional Army. “We do not want to be counted as the second largest Army in numbers. We are planning to modernise the Army to meet future challenges,” he added. He also said Information Technology would play an important part in future military operations.

Stating that the nation was fighting a number of divisive forces which threatened to subvert and destroy it, General Singh said the Army was “fighting to win” with the conviction that our cause was fair and just.

Fanaticism, corruption and unequal distribution of resources were behind the troubles in parts of the country and divisive elements were taking advantage of the situation, he said. — PTI

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No plans to contest presidential poll, says Bachchan

Mumbai, February 17
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan today said he had no plans to contest the next presidential elections.
"I am deeply humbled and touched by the thought. But I am not worthy of such a distinguished post. Besides, no such offer has come my way yet," Bachchan said. Samajawadi Party general secretary Amar Singh told journalists that Bachchan's candidature for the post could be considered. — PTI

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